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Learn to Swim

Swim for Life Lifesaving Society logoAs Canada’s lifeguarding expert and leader in education and training to prevent drownings and water related injuries, the Lifesaving Society is proud to offer the swim program: Swim for Life.

Based on the internationally recognized Swim to Survive standard, the Society’s Swim for Life program focuses on basic survival skills and fun from day one! It teaches the essential skills necessary to survive a sudden, unexpected fall into deep water. Swim for Life starts by developing strong foundational skills and essential personal self-rescue skills, then continues by challenging swimmers to develop effective swimming strokes.

You can spot good swimmers right away. They are the ones who know how to swim and behave safely around water. The Lifesaving Society’s Swim Program makes sure your kids are Water Smart before they get in too deep. You are never too young to start, and never too old to learn. Our Swim for Life Program offers different strokes for different folks – of all ages and abilities.

The best place to learn to swim is in the water. That is why our Swim for Life Program stresses lots of in-water practice to develop solid swimming strokes and skills. We incorporate valuable Water Smart® education that uses hands-on, fun and active teaching activities, lessons that will last a lifetime.

Parent & Tot

Spend quality time with your child while you both have fun, learn and socialize. Through structured in-water interaction between parent and child, we stress the importance of play in developing water-positive attitudes and skills. We provide Lifesaving Society Water Smart® tips on keeping your child safe in any aquatic setting. Certified instructors provide guidance and answers to your questions.

Activities and progressions are based on child development; register in the level appropriate for your child’s age: 4–12 months, 12–24 months, or 2–3 years.


Give your child a head start on learning to swim. The Lifesaving Society Preschool program develops an appreciation and healthy respect for the water before these kids get in too deep. In our basic aquatic progressions, we work to ensure 3 to 5-year olds become comfortable in the water and have fun acquiring and developing a foundation of water skills. We incorporate Lifesaving Society Water Smart® education in all Preschool levels.

Preschool 1

We encourage the parent to participate until their child lets them know they can do it themselves (thank you very much). These preschoolers will have fun learning to get in and out of the water. We will help them jump into chest deep water. They will floats and glide on their front and back and learn to get their face wet and blow bubbles underwater.

Preschool 2

These preschoolers learn to jump into chest deep water by themselves and get in and get out wearing a lifejacket. They will submerge and exhale underwater. While wearing a lifejacket they will glide on their front and back.

Preschool 3

These youngsters will try both jumping and a sideways entry into deep water while wearing a lifejacket. They will recover objects from the bottom in waist-deep water. They will work on kicking and gliding through the water on their front and back.

Preschool 4

Advanced preschoolers will learn to do solo jumps into deeper water and get out by themselves. They will do sideways entries and open their eyes underwater. They will master a short (5 m) swim on their front wearing a lifejacket and gliding and kicking on their side.

Preschool 5

These youngsters get more adventuresome with a forward roll entry wearing a lifejacket and treading water for 10 sec. They will work on front and back crawl swims for 5 m, interval training and get a giggle out of whip kick.


Swim for Life stickers - Swimmer (Blue)The Lifesaving Society’s 6-level Swimmer program makes sure your children learn how to swim before they get in too deep. Swimmer progressions accommodate children 5 years and older including absolute beginners as well as swimmers who want to build on the basics. We stress lots of in-water practice to develop safe entries, deep-water support, underwater skills, and swimming strokes. These Swimmer levels also develop everlasting habits for healthy, active living. Water Smart® education is part of every level.

Swimmer 1

These beginners will become comfortable jumping into water with and without a lifejacket. They will learn to open their eyes, exhale, and hold their breath underwater. They will work on floats, glides and kicking through the water on their front and back.

Swimmer 2

These advanced beginners will jump into deeper water and learn to be comfortable falling sideways into the water wearing a lifejacket. They will be able to support themselves at the surface without an aid, learn whip kick, swim 10 m on their front and back, and be introduced to flutter kick interval training (4 x 5 m).

Swimmer 3

These junior swimmers will dive; do front somersaults, and handstands in water. They will work on 15 m of front crawl, back crawl, and 10 m of whip kick. Flutter kick interval training increases to 4 x 15 m.

Swimmer 4

These intermediate swimmers will swim 5 m underwater and lengths of front, back crawl, whip kick, and breaststroke arms with breathing. Their new bag of tricks includes the completion of the Canadian Swim to Survive® Standard. They’ll cap it all off with front crawl sprints over 25 m and 4 x 25 m front or back crawl interval training.

Swimmer 5

These swimmers will master shallow dives, cannonball entries, eggbeater kicks, and in-water backward somersaults. They will refine their front and back crawl over 50 m swims of each, and breaststroke over 25 m. Then they will pick up the pace in 25 m sprints and two interval-training bouts: 4 x 50 m front or back crawl; and 4 x 15 m breaststroke.

Swimmer 6

These advanced swimmers will rise to the challenge of sophisticated aquatic skills including stride entries, compact jumps and lifesaving kicks like eggbeater and scissor kick. They will develop strength and power in head-up breaststroke sprints over 25 m. They will easily swim lengths of front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke.

Adult Swimmer

The Adult Swimmer Program is for both beginners who may be just starting out and for swimmers who just want help with their strokes. Participants set their own goals to develop confidence and smooth recognizable strokes.

Fitness Swimmer

The Fitness Swimmer Program is for swimmers of any age who want to improve their overall physical fitness in the water. Participants learn and experience safe training principles and practices including the highly effective technique of interval training. Participants set their own fitness goals.